Telecommunications company MTN announced its title sponsorship of provincial rugby union team the Golden Lions.
The three-year deal, estimated to be worth roughly US$2.8 million annually, means the team will officially compete under the name of the MTN Golden Lions. Additionally the MTN logo will feature on the front the Johannesburg club’s playing shirts.
“Both the sport of rugby and the Golden Lions are going through an exciting metamorphosis and as MTN, we are delighted to be integrally involved in this positive change,” said MTN chief marketing officer, Serame Tuakobong.
Robert Gumede, Lions chairman and the first black owner of a professional South African rugby union club, said, “This sponsorship deal is the next step in the delivery of our promise to transform the game of rugby in South Africa. It is our intention to bring a new energy into the game from this season, through a combination of talented players, loyal supporters and top-class ‘sport-entertainment’.
“Every Lions game will become an event in itself, and will deliver much more than just 80-minutes of top-class rugby. Our partnership with MTN will enable us to deliver on this strategy and achieve success. When we made this investment step change to create a new business model for the future of rugby in SA, our aim was to drive and develop this franchise at every level. All of us want to see the Lions team make a strong comeback to regain its rightful title as leaders of the pack once again
“This initial three-year MTN contract will enable the union to continue attracting some of the best local rugby talent. We will also be in a position to bring back a number of South African foreign-based players to play for a professional and transformed team, and make them available for Springbok selection. With MTN on board as our partners at GLRU, I am confident that we will achieve and even surpass our initial goals,” Gumede added.